Some things are just universal. In
the case of teenagers, for example, it's pretty much expected they'll spout off incendiary things at their peers, parents and anyone else unfortunate enough to stand within a 50-foot radius.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and the Ad Council have teamed up for a new public service ad campaign aimed at curbing the use of antigay speech by teenagers. The
campaign, helmed pro bono by ad agency ArnoldNYC, includes TV spots featuring Wanda Sykes and Hilary Duff. The stars admonish obnoxious teens to "knock it off" after they employ the phrase
"that's so gay" to describe things that do not, in fact, possess a sexual orientation.
The idea behind the campaign is twofold: point out to teens that language like
"dyke," "faggot" and, yes, "that's so gay" is harmful and hurtful, and thereby create a more positive environment for LGBT teenagers, who are coming out younger than
ever before. "When we tested the new ads with teens, they found the approach to be realistic and identifiable," says Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "This campaign
will open their eyes to the dangers of using this language, and, ultimately, create a safer environment for LGBT students."
If nothing else, they might at least choose their words more
carefully for fear of Wanda Sykes delivering a verbal beatdown.